FIFTEEN

John Bowlby postulated the autonomy of attachment behavior as a behavioral system, independent of sexuality and feeding (i.e., independent of a 'secondary drive', or of 'secondary reinforcement), characterized by a need for physical proximity to the mothering caregiver, a biological function, selected by evolution, as protection against predators (Cassidy, J., Shaver, P., Handbook of Attachment, 2nd Edition, 2006, p. 5).

 

In addition to attachment behavior, Bowlby (A Secure Base, 1988) also describes several additional, "biologically rooted" types of behavioral systems: 1) exploratory; 2) parenting (caregiving); 3) sexual; 4) fear (Cassidy, et al, 2006, from Bowlby, 1973); and 5) eating (Lichtenberg, Lachmann, and Fosshage define 7 motivational systems, 2011 - see attached book review, on Motivational Systems Theory tab)

 

Bowlby identifies a situationally-elicited, "...preprogrammed set of behavior patterns...", the clarity of which contrasts sharply with the vagueness of the energic hypothesis of instinct theory's "libido".

 

Bowlby describes behaviors that, although prepatterned genetically, are shaped by environmental stimuli, that generate lifelong developmental trajectories and repercussions; a conceptual schema that embodies observable and measurable intersubjective configurations, between caregiver and child: "... a theoretical framework for the field compatible with the framework adopted throughout modern biology and neurophysiology..."

 

Bowlby maintained an unprecedented research collaboration for 40 years with Mary Ainsworth, who further expounded upon the "malleable" patterns of mother-infant communication, that can inhibit or foster the infant's reliance on mother as a "secure base", for the infant's successful exploration, growth and healthy emotional development (Wallin, 2007, pp. 15-17). Consistent with Heinz Kohut, Bowlby declared the psychobiological necessity of the normal, lifelong needs for physical proximity and secure emotional attachments with others (ibid, p. 13).

Attachment Theory I

 

The attachment behavioral system: origins of attachment theory

- a universal need to form close affectional bonds

- adult attachment behaviors reciprocate those of the infant

(proximity-seeking, smiling, clinging)

- the attachment system is an open, biosocial, homeostatic, (AFFECT) regulatory system

- internal working models are representation systems of the infant's past experiences with the caregiver

(from Campbell's Psychiatric Dictionary, ninth edition, 2009, p. 93)

 

 

"...Bowlby began to mine ethology for useful new concepts. Lorenz’s (1935) account of imprinting in geese and other precocial birds especially intrigued him, because it suggested that social bond formation need not be tied to feeding...." (Bretherton, I., "The Origins of Attachment Theory...", in Developmental Psychology (1992), 28, p. 766).

"...The relationship between attachment theory and psychoanalysis is more complex than adherents of either community generally recognize..." (Fonagy, P, Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis, 2002).

I) secure attachment - type B

- securely attached infants can freely express their attachment-related feelings and needsII) 

 

II) insecure (anxious) attachment strategies

 

a) avoidant/dismissive - type A

 1) suppresses arousal of 'forbidden', negative affect towards needed caregiver, in order to elicit approval, or to avoid disapproval, and thereby maintain proximity;

 2) by being "well-behaved"; overly compliant; compulsively caregiving; accepts blame;

 3) uses rationalization; dissociation; and displacement,

 

b) ambivalent/ preoccuppied - type C

 amplifies affective arousal to "...express their attachment-related feelings and needs, as if to ensure continuing care..." (Wallin, 2007)

 

c) disorganized

"...INTERNAL WORKING MODELS OF THE ATTACHMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRIMARY CAREGIVER, STORED IN THE RIGHT BRAIN, ENCODE STRATEGIES OF AFFECT REGULATION THAT NONCONSCIOUSLY GUIDE THE INDIVIDUAL THROUGH INTERPERSONAL CONTEXTS..." (SCHORE, 2012, P. 77)

"...IN CURRENT PSYCHOBIOLOGICAL MODELS, ATTACHMENT IS DEFINED AS THE INTERACTIVE REGULATION OF STATES OF BIOLOGICAL SYNCHRONICITY BETWEEN AND WITHIN ORGANISMS...THE DUAL REGULATORY PROCESSES OF AFFECT SYNCHRONY, WHICH CREATES STATES OF POSITIVE AROUSAL, AND INTERACTIVE REPAIR, WHICH MODULATES STATES OF NEGATIVE AROUSAL, ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCKS OF ATTACHMENT AND ITS ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS..." (SCHORE A., 2012, PP. 56-57).